You asked: Mill on track to be fully operational in June

Published 10:55 am Saturday, December 17, 2011

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You asked: Why has everything gotten quiet about hiring at the International Paper mill?

FRANKLIN—International Paper’s repurposing of its Franklin mill to a fluff pulp operation is on pace to be fully operational by June, according to a company source.

IP spokeswoman Donna Wadsworth said the company has already brought 32 members of its hourly staff on board to help prepare for orientation next month and plans to bring in a second wave of hourly employees starting Monday, Jan. 9.

“We brought in 24 employees in October and they have been on site ever since writing training manuals getting ready for orientation,” Wadsworth said.

The addition of new employees will continue from Jan. 9 with new employees being added to the ranks every Monday.

“We’re going to start in small groups,” Wadsworth said.

The company plans to hire a total of 220 workers by the time the plant becomes fully operational in June.

Spots are still available for more hourly staff members, Wadsworth said, adding the company will be advertising those positions shortly.

“We’ve been very pleased with the level of response and the quality of applicants,” Wadsworth said.

In addition to the 32 staff members, IP has 40 members of management at the mill site currently, Wadsworth said.

“There’s a lot of activity right now,” She said. “I was there just a couple of weeks ago and it was hopping.”

IP closed the Franklin mill in June 2010, eliminating 1,100 jobs.

The Memphis-based company announced in May plans to repurpose the mill to produce fluff pulp and to employ more than 200.

There have also been announcements from Franklin Pellets and TAK Enterprises for possible future use of portions of the mill as well.